March 16, 2006


Senators near compromise on immigration reform (Donna Smith, 3/16/06, Reuters)

Although no vote will be held until after a weeklong congressional recess, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday appeared ready to back a proposal by panel member Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, who has worked on the issue with his Republican colleague John McCain of Arizona. [...]

Kennedy told the committee the proposal was not an amnesty. People seeking legal status would have to pay a $2,000 fine, apply for a six-year temporary status, have a job, pay taxes, learn English and show an understanding of U.S. government.

They would not get permanent status faster than the three million foreigners awaiting legal entry, he said.

"There is no moving to the front of the line, there is no free ticket," Kennedy said. "This is not amnesty."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, quipped that the requirements "probably exclude half of my family."

The panel also reached tentative agreement on a guest worker program sought by President George W. Bush has said he wants. A compromise struck between Kennedy and Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, would give future temporary workers an opportunity to seek permanent status after four years.

U.S. business groups favor creating a temporary worker program to help fill jobs that Americans either cannot or will not do. Both business and labor groups also favor giving current undocumented workers a way to legalize their status.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 16, 2006 3:40 PM

You get an unusual grouping of politicians like this who are willing to deal because there are sectors of both political parties who are so worked up about illegal immigration, it leaves the senators at a loss for a simple answer than can pander to their base.

Posted by: John at March 16, 2006 3:58 PM

$2,000 seems a bit low to me--but this is definitely the right step, and it's nice to see Cornyn cooperating.

Posted by: Timothy at March 16, 2006 4:21 PM

I can hear people at NRO screaming from here.

Posted by: AWW at March 16, 2006 4:30 PM

I wouldn't call it a fine but a fee, raise it to $5000 and they also have to give names of relatives along w/their 1040s who will support them for 5 years. Just like everyone else has to.

And I'd pull in those relatives for a chat and documentation, too.

Posted by: Sandy P. at March 16, 2006 11:01 PM

We are fast approaching the day when the Right will be forced to choose - a national ID card for stronger borders. Another attack here, or some serious development in Mexico, and it will arrive sooner. I don't think it's a bad idea, but you can bet it will unite the Bob Barrs and Pat Buchanans, and it will split the ACLU and the left (i.e., I can't imagine Nat Henthoff, The Nation, the CBC, Barbara Boxer, Joe Lieberman, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Paul Krugman, Justices Stevens/Breyer/Souter, Howard Dean, Barack Obama, Russ Feingold, and others having the same reaction to it).

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 17, 2006 12:44 AM

Agreed. A National ID card's time has come. Didn't think I'd ever do a 180 on this, but things move much more quickly now and it's a very different world.

Lots of immutable info put on a little card that would be very difficult to counterfeit would seriously interfere the bad guys ability to do us harm.

The left will jump up and down because one of the first benefits would be that voter fraud would virtually disappear in one fell swoop.

Posted by: erp at March 17, 2006 7:53 AM